House bill seeks to rationalize traffic fines, protect motorists 


A BILL that seeks to protect motorists by outlining the limits and parameters of traffic enforcement, including penalty rates, has been filed at the House of Representatives.  

House Bill No. 3423, titled Motorist Protection and Rights Act, aims to amend Republic Act No.4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which does not provide for a bill of rights for motorists.   

Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, author of the proposed measure, said that as private vehicles are being used as a means of livelihood, fairness in traffic enforcement is strongly tied with economic rights and the dignity of labor. 

“I don’t think it’s right that we should charge Grab drivers and delivery rides a week’s worth of wages for offenses that are minor,” said Mr. Salceda, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means.  

The bill imposes a cap on fines, which will not exceed the minimum wage rate for the first offence involving minor local traffic violations.   

“The point of traffic laws is orderly transport, not punishment. The penalties, especially for local minor traffic violations, can go as high as P3,500 for first offense,” he said.   

“That is confiscatory, and it sets up room for negotiating with the traffic authorities. The child of confiscatory penalties is (extortion).”   

The bill also guarantees the right “to complete, clear, and reasonable definitions of traffic violations.”    

Under the proposed law, every local government must set up a traffic adjudication body to ensure motorists can appeal violations.   

“While we have established the no-contact apprehension policy to avoid (extortion), the system does not always have an accessible appeals mechanism,” Mr. Salceda said. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo